Postcard from Maine (7)

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Coming soon! I always love when spring finally really springs and the landscape begins to green up. Though it take it’s sweet time to get here, the fresh breath of post-winter life that eventually washes over the landscape is well worth the wait. The greens can be electric, and the smells and sound of new growth are intoxicating. By early June we have an additional bonus where swathes of purple and pink begin to dot the landscape, and I have to admit, it’s a favorite time of mine. If you’re in Acadia looking for Lupine, you’ll of course find it scattered randomly in places all over Mount Desert Island, but there are also several cool places – that I know of – where you can find it in abundance.

There’s a lush and full field of Lupine that grows wild in the heart of Bar Island, just offshore from Bar Harbor. The good news… at low tide you can access this treasure by walking across an uncovered spit of land. Be careful though, the ocean waits for no-one and you need to pay attention to the time and tide. Tread with care and make nice photographs.

Another beautiful example of Acadia Lupine can be found along the Beech Hill Cliffs Road. When coming onto the island, travel south through the quaint village of Somesville and look for a right turn toward Beech Hill. After about quarter of a mile make a left and follow the road toward Beech Hill… at the end of this dead-end route there are some wonderful views from above Echo Lake on some very pretty quiet side trails that also offer ocean views to the south of Acadia – and along the way you’ll see two large fields that will be overflowing with colorful Lupine in June. Enjoy!

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The Bagaduce River

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The pretty little village of Penobscot lies quietly on the edge of Northern Bay along the Bagaduce River in Maine. On a recent visit to the Holbrook Island Sanctuary State Park we stopped off here to walk in the local park and enjoy the vibrant display of freshly bloomed Lupine and Beach Rose that lined the shore. June in Maine is a wonderful time of the year… the temporary crowds haven’t quite arrived yet, but summer and all of the goodness that it brings is here for us to enjoy.

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Island Lupine

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I had heard rumors of there being a field of lupine on Bar Island, so I was excited to explore and see if it really existed… and boy, does it ever! Within five minutes of crossing the bar and stepping onto the pristine island, we were walking through an absolutely stunning meadow overflowing with my favorite flowers. I love lupine, and these beauties were at their peak with glorious swathes of purple, white and pink everywhere. It was a hot day when we visited, so we appreciated the shade along most of the short walk to the overlook and back. Awesome experience, and an easy, interesting hike that I would definitely recommend… just remember to check the tidal charts so you don’t get stranded out there by the rising waters!

Paying with blood…

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For a couple of glorious weeks starting in mid-June, my favorite wildflower bursts into life and can be seen all over Maine. Considered by some to be a nuisance, I just love the color that lupine brings to the countryside, and I try to photograph it every chance I get. This tall spindly flower thrives on hillsides where it can get lots of sun, and growing in bunches, it also seems to like its own company. As I make my commute to work, it can be found scattered in large swathes all along I-95, and at this time of year I almost don’t mind the drive.

There are a couple of fields along the Beech Hill Road in Acadia National Park that fill to the brim with lupine each year, though this isn’t the only thing coming to life right around this time. Depending on how wet the spring is, the Maine state bird – the Blackfly – is also enjoying it’s re-birth, and on this particular occasion it seemed very happy to see both Jack and me. I used my 70-200mm lens and a large aperture (f5.6 or f6.3) to create a shallow depth of field and isolate some of the beautiful flowers in what was a very full and almost chaotic scene. The light breeze which made it quite challenging to get a sharp photograph of the lupine did little to save me from the hungry blackflies – I must have surrendered half a pint of blood as the little buggers feasted on me.

Through the eyes of a child

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Peering through the viewfinder, focused and intent on making a photograph, I have come to recognize (and love) the sound of Jack joining me as a photographer. Usually concentrating on creating a composition, that’s when I suddenly become aware of little footsteps getting closer as he tries to see what it is I am seeing. Then there’s the “dinging” sound of his camera as he turns it on and fires it up ready for action. Jack received his own camera on his 6th birthday, and ever since then he has been quite the prodigious little photographer. He takes great pride in his photographs, and loves to share the images he makes. Here’s a sampling of his photographs from a recent trip along the Beech Hill Road in Acadia National Park in search of lupine – it’s always interesting to see through the eyes of a child.

Me and my boy!

I love Lupine

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We went camping this weekend… and despite the rainy weather, a good time was had by all. Late on Friday afternoon we wandered up to the Beech Hill Road to hike the Canada Cliff Trail, and along the roadside we encountered a field absolutely brimming over with my favorite Maine flower… Lupine.

There’s something about the fleeting appearance these flowers make that I really like. They explode onto the scene as the weather warms up at the start of June, but by the time July rolls around they are already starting to fade away. They are scattered all over the side of I-95 as I make my way down and back to work, and maybe it’s because they brighten my commute at this time of year, but I love the splash of color they add to the landscape.

It was gently raining as I grabbed these photographs, and as the light faded and the wind blew, I had a hard time organizing things in the viewfinder in a way that I liked. The overcast skies and light rain really made the colors pop, and in an attempt to find something I liked, I tried: a) using a slower shutter to allow the flowers to move in the wind by themselves; b) timing things so the flowers would be still as the wind momentarily died; and c) intentionally moving the camera through the scene to blur the elements. Despite the swath of stunning colors, I have to admit to feeling quite overwhelmed by what I saw. I felt compositionally challenged by what was a truly wonderful scene, and I walked away shaking my head in frustration and feeling as though it was the first time I had ever held a camera.

Looking for Lupine

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I have always looked forward to mid-June when the Lupine in Maine come to life. Serious gardeners often disparage this hardy perennial for its ability to overwhelm a planned garden space. Me… I love the swaths of deep color that appear along the roadside at this time of year, and I have long been searching for a nice composition that includes these beautiful flowers.

On our camping trip to Acadia National Park this past weekend we spent a really nice evening, free from the already increasing crowds in Bar Harbor, along the quiet shore at Seawall. As we made our way past Southwest Harbor and through Manset, this pretty scene presented itself. Needless to say I started drooling, stopped the car and enjoyed the view.